Northside Park Soccer Tourneys Still Growing

OCEAN CITY – The Recreation and Parks Department is prepared for Springfest this weekend as concerts are selling out and new activities are planned for the event.

Ocean City’s annual Springfest kicked off yesterday with a parade and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“We are going to have good weather and it will be an excellent place to get four days of sun in Ocean City at the Inlet,” Recreation and Parks Department Head Tom Shuster said.

The event contains 146 arts and crafts vendors, 20 food vendors, 12 gourmet food vendors and 58 commercial vendors.

Entertainment began on Thursday with a local band jam and a performance by The Fabulous Hubcaps.

Friday night’s headliner, Loretta Lynn, is officially sold out and Saturday night’s performances by Eddie Money and Survivor are heading in that direction as 1,100 tickets have already been sold.

New this year, in cooperation with the town’s new beverage franchise Coke-a-Cola, the Swelter Stopper will be added to the festival grounds. The Swelter Stopper provides a place to escape from the heat with complimentary beverages as well as a disc jockey and games.

“So more excitement on the midway at Springfest,” Shuster said. “We are pleased with what we got going at Springfest.”

Mayor Rick Meehan added the weather forecast for the weekend couldn’t look better.

“Looks like the weather forecast is on our side this weekend,” he said. “From what I see, they are predicting some very good warm weather so it should be a fabulous spring weekend and a great weekend at Springfest.”

Kate Gaddis, recreation supervisor with the Recreation and Parks Department, also presented a report on the Ocean City Recreation and Parks’ 2012 St. Patrick’s Indoor Soccer Tournaments.

The tourneys were held at Northside Park on four consecutive weekends, starting the last weekend in February through the first three weekends in March.

“We have continued to grow the tournament,” Gaddis said.
The tournament’s registration reflected 172 teams, which averages about 15 players each.

“Then all of their family members that come along with them,” Gaddis said. “So it is a very large crowd that comes and stays.”

The games run from 7 a.m. until after midnight.

“They are long and a lot of work, but I think they are well received, and we have a lot of people throughout the state that this is their tradition to come every year and play in the St. Patrick’s Soccer Tournaments,” Gaddis said.

Though registration was down by two teams this year, the tournaments’ revenue increased.

Once again, the tournaments surpassed expectations and have proven to be revenue generating shoulder events for the local business community as well.

“When you consider the economic impact of the tournaments, we are very happy to host them and very happy for your [Mayor and City Council] support to run them year after year,” Gaddis said.